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Separate fact from fiction and learn more about the real George Washington.

First American president, commander of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and gentleman planter... learn more about the many varied roles that George Washington excelled in and tremendous legacy that he left for America and the World.

Key Facts

Washington Said What?
Spurious Quotations

Washington Said What?

Even in his own time, George Washington was frequently misquoted. 

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Washington's Voice

For all we know about Washington, what do we know about what he sounded like?

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George Washington's physique and ambitions were tailor-made for his age—one in which displays of physical prowess were essential to recognition in society.

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There are many misconceptions surrounding Washington's religious beliefs. 

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Brother Washington, the Freemason

Freemasonry played a role in George Washington's life from the age of 20 when he first became an Entered Apprentice in the Fredericksburg Lodge until the day he died, when a brother in his Alexandria lodge was one of three doctors at his bedside.

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While not formally educated like many of his contemporaries, Washington loved to read. By his death, he had more than 1,200 books in his library at Mount Vernon.

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House of Burgesses

The first time George Washington ran for public office, he lost. However, he won his second race and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1758 until 1776. 

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Map: Washington's World

See all the many places that George Washington visited during his lifetime in our Washington's World Interactive Map. 

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The Rules of Civility

Before the age of sixteen, George Washington copied out the 110 rules covered in The Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour.

This exercise, now regarded as a formative influence in the development of his character, included guidelines for behavior and general courtesies.

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Washington owned hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children. He depended on their labor to build and maintain his household and plantation.

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Dog Lover

General Washington loved dogs! Learn more about canines on the Mount Vernon estate, yesterday and today.

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The Master Equestrian

Prowess on horseback offered young George Washington his clearest path to fame. His long rides as a surveyor, through the forest on foxhunts, and his bayonet drills in the heat of the summer sun prepared him well for his eventual martial feats.

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Washington On-Screen

The nature, the details, and the truth of Washington's story all depend on who tells it.

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America's First Celebrity


Few figures in American history are surrounded by more well-intended mythology than George Washington.

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On the Dance Floor

Like everything, George Washington took his performance on the dance floor deadly serious, once referring warmly to dance as "the gentler conflict."

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A Love Letter

“I retain an unalterable affection for you, which neither time nor distance can change.”... Is this a line from Pride and Prejudice…or a love letter from George Washington?

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Parson Weems' Life of Washington

Written a year after Washington's death, Weems' biography served as the point of origin for many long-held myths about Washington, in particular the famous cherry tree story.

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Washington's Views on Slavery

Despite having been an active slave holder for 56 years, George Washington struggled with the institution of slavery.

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"A Brave and Generous People"

Learn more about Gen. George Washington's St. Patrick's Day Proclamation of 1780.

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General Robert E. Lee's Buried Treasure

Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee buried her family heirlooms to avoid the destruction of valuable Washington objects during the Civil War. Years later, the silver found its way back to Mount Vernon.

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Hunting and Fishing

With more nights under the stars than any of our Founding Fathers, George Washington hunted with several kinds of guns and he also fished with his own line and tackle in streams and rivers from Virginia to Pennsylvania.

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Throughout his lifetime, George Washington enjoyed fox hunting during the fall and winter at Mount Vernon, often inviting his neighbors and business associates to join him in the sport.

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American Ancestry

The story of the Washington family in America began in the mid-1650s when two young men, John Washington and his younger brother Lawrence arrived in Virginia set out to make their fortunes in the colonies.

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Though he would have little time on his hands to contemplate what his life would mean to the future of America, George Washington helped to define the broader concept of what we call today the "American sportsman."

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